What Is Professional Negligence?

You can claim for professional negligence if you believe a professional service you trusted has breached their duty of care. Financial loss, poor service standards and poor advice all fall under this category, allowing you the right to claim compensation.

A good service is important and professional negligence solicitors can help tackle those professionals who are not providing a service with ‘reasonable skill and care.’ There are a range of professions who have to abide by the Duty of Care including:

  • Legal professionals – solicitors or lawyers who have mishandled claims or failed litigation
  • Medical professionals – either medical staff or hospitals who have breached their Duty of Care
  • Accountants – for either giving poor or misleading advice
  • Property professionals – architects, conveyancers, surveyors and builders
  • Financial services – professional advisers who have shared misleading advice about pension schemes, endowment plans or tax

If you feel you are a victim of professional negligence by any of these professions, you may be liable to claim compensation.

For your claim to be successful you will need to prove that there has been a breach of duty. To prove there has been a breach of duty will depend on whether the professional has shown competence with the proper discharge of the duties of that profession. It is the Court who decides whether the duty of care has been breached, not the profession.

If you have suffered financial loss as a result of a breach, this should also be proven to the Court. Compensation will only be rewarded to those who prove their loss was a direct result of a breach. Without this evidence, you will not be eligible for compensation.

How can I make a professional negligence claim?

Professional negligence claims are taken very seriously. There are specific procedures which the claimants need to abide by, otherwise cost penalties can be issued by the Court if they feel the procedures have not been completed accurately. The correct procedure involves a great deal of co-operation with the defendant and their legal representative, with the attempt to try and settle the dispute without facing a trial.

The correct procedure found in the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) 1998 requires a written letter from the claimant to the negligent professional, identifying the factual and legal basis of the claim. The Letter of Claim must include the following details:

  • A chronological order of the claim
  • The allegations made against the professional
  • Confirmation of whether an expert has been appointed
  • Details of any financial losses

The professional has 21 days to respond to the Letter of Claim and 3 months to investigate the claim and respond formally.

If the care is not resolved after this time, the case may go to Court.

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